Music Qubes «

Anyone can make blocks drop down the screen, and ask players to stack them in a variety of ways — be it with like colors, in solid lines or what have you. We’ve been there, done that, and have that red-eye from not blinking for two hours straight to prove it. Music Qubes follows in the footsteps of recent, more innovative puzzle games that spice up the formula not so much in the gameplay department, but in aesthetics.

On paper, Music Qubes doesn’t stray too far from the flock. Groups of blocks of varying make-ups drop from the top of the screen, beckoning you to bring order to the chaos. The rule of the day here is linking up four blocks of the same color — which, of course, makes them disappear. Unlike Tetris, for example, blocks aren’t bound together once they fall, and will split up depending on what’s underneath them. It’s safe to compare Music Qubes‘ gameplay to the PSP smash hit, Lumines.

Where things differ is in gimmick blocks. There are a whole lot of them, and their effects range greatly. Simple bomb blocks are easy enough to digest, as are those that speed up the game’s pace. But then you have those that flip the action 180 degrees, so your pile is now at the top of the screen and new blocks come from the bottom going up. There are even gimmicks that add trippy visual effects like trails that remain behind your blocks. For the most part, these additions are both clever and welcome. However, they do show up a little fast for my taste, and there could have been less of them overall.

Music Qubes is fun to play, to be sure. I logged plenty of hours in Lumines on my PSP, and I find myself playing a good amount of Music Qubes. But the gameplay isn’t the only thing the two titles have in common. Music Qubes also uses sights and sound to really deliver a dynamic experience — going above and beyond what’s typical in the mobile gaming space.

You can select your own stylistic theme, either club or hip hop. The background images and music will then reflect your choice. Sure, you’re still playing the same puzzle game, but it’s cool to be able to switch up the vibe. I wouldn’t crank either musical selection from my car stereo, but they’re better than your average mobile tunes. Background graphics of bling-bling and bikini models are just kitschy enough to entertain.

In a slick move, even more themes can be downloaded. Dancehall brings a tropical vibe to things, while Latin beats are pretty self-explanatory. Like most cell phone games, I have to say the volume setting is way too loud in Music Qubes. Maybe my hearing is just that much better than the general populace. Even on the lowest audible setting, I still feel like I’m annoying those around me when I play. This limits where and when to bust out the game; but isn’t wireless gaming all about no limits?

I couldn’t in good conscience say that Music Qubes is something brand new. Its influence from Lumines is undeniable. However, if you’re going to borrow, why not borrow from the best, right? And on the mobile platform, Music Qubes stands out enough to warrant checking out. It plays well, and looks and sounds good to boot. Even if it is a little square.

 

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